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Speaker: Doing the right thing on retirement

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  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Gerard Smythe's excellent doco on the closure of Templeton played on TV1 on I think Christmas Eve 2004

    Certainly made an impression on me. He said at the time he was working on the broader one as a follow-up. No surprise to hear that the network gatekeepers would prefer a charitable disease-of-the-week weepie instead.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    While I appreciate that the book is now somehow officially closed, I believe that you’d have found more than a few fellow spirits in those genuinely reformist years before the empire building mentality set in. A pity that their stories will never be told.

    Those stories are still really important to understanding that side of our culture and understanding of others. Even recording yours somehow would be a tremendous help - so long as you're clear who you are speaking for.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Kate Hannah,

    I'm always looking for more texts that attempt a fictional account of all aspects of the Holocaust & Armenian genocide.

    You have probably seen this 1896 poem
    reproduced here in case it falls within your ambit :

    FOR ARMENIA.
    TO THE WOMEN OF NEW ZEALAND.

    ["Can we not create a huge wave of public opinion that will rouse England to a sense of her duty? .... Cannot the women of Australasia unite in a monster petition to the British Government on behalf of their tortured and outraged Armenian" sisters ? " -Dolce A. Cabot.]

    Wake ! awake, ye women of Zealandia !
    From' the hearth, from the city, from the lea;
    Cry ye out for the burden of Armenia
    The burden of the.desert of the sea.

    Is it Mammon or Jehovah that ye worship?
    Will you take the huckster hand and think it well?
    The white Saxon hand that held the flambeau
    To the red, high carnival of hell.

    To the glozing of the He at San Stefano
    Will you set your seal of silence, and be calm,
    While your brethren, betrayers of Armenia,
    Are raising the Meisiah-mocking- psalm ?

    The blood-wite is counting for Armenia
    In heaven for a many hundred years ;
    Like a river by the throne of the Eternal
    Her martyr-blood is sanguining the spheres.

    When the blood-wite iis reckoned for Armenia,
    And Islam is bowing to the stroke ;
    God help her in her paying Christian England,
    Who sold the Christian neck to bear the yoke.

    Then, druids of a craven cult politic ;
    Then leeches of the consol and the scrip.
    In London at your very fetish altars .
    Shall the seething cup be given to your lip!

    Sweet women, cry ye out, or Celt or Saxon :
    In this shame we have not either lot or park.
    In the far, far islands of the morning
    There lingers yet the soul of Lion Heart ,

    "Out, out upon the years of peace and vileness
    When the blue and white, the boast of Britain's - flag.
    Were swallowed in the red of San Stefano,
    And its honour was a dust-bedabbled rag

    " We will not bear the curse of Armenia
    When the white Christ cometh to His own |
    When the blood-wite is laid upon the Saxon
    The idol and the fetish overthrown !

    Look out and see the women wards of England
    On the ghastly mountain, coverless, forspent;
    The lords of hell have risen and are watching ;
    For Islam can teach them to torment !

    Sweet women, men may bear it, but we cannot.
    Cry ye out to the heavens, and be clear
    Of the vileneas and the curse of acquiescence ;
    Cry aloud and let the craven nations hear I

    Jessie Mackay. -
    Fairlie, S. Canterbury, July 1896.

    from Roots web ancestry

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Joe, The debate over terminology and support options was as heated then as now with many parents fighting politicians and others. The World Health Organisation was way ahead of our Holland Government which used which used terms 'mental deficiency colonies', 'feeble minded' etc in its 1953 clinician-led Aitken report, in opposition to many of the activist parents and others who opposed such terminology and attitudes. But from talking to parents and siblings from that era there was real shame and guilt in having a disabled child in the family which meant that the mother was somehow at fault and the ofher children would not be able to find partners if the secret of the disabled child was revealed. Hence institutionalisation. I'm really glad that there were nice people like your family in those places. But I can still oppose the policy and language, even considering the historical context, for where history shows it can lead.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2008 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sacha,

    This William Gibson quote posted by Ian on another thread fits perfectly (my emphasis added):

    It’s harder to imagine the past that went away than it is to imagine the future. What we were prior to our latest batch of technology is, in a way, unknowable. It would be harder to accurately imagine what New York City was like the day before the advent of broadcast television than to imagine what it will be like after life-size broadcast holography comes online.

    But actually the New York without the television is more mysterious, because we’ve already been there and nobody paid any attention. That world is gone.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Kate Hannah,

    Kate - if you email me at hilary.stace@vuw.ac.nz I can give you that listserv and other refs

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2008 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I'm really glad that there were nice people like your family in those places.

    Hilary, you're not only being patronising and condescending, you're failing to accord me the courtesy of assuming that I'm posting here in good faith.

    I am NOT motivated by a need to justify my family's involvement. To suggest that I am makes me sound like the apologist offspring of someone who had a menial role at Auschwitz. My parents were minor functionaries in a system that they didn't choose to join. I want to understand how that system fits into our history, and it's been my fortune to have rather more to draw from than abstract reports. They weren't perfect people, but I don't believe that they ever mistreated those that it was their duty to care for. Certainly they weren't activists in breaking up families for the greater glory of the health system.

    I remember as a child asking my mother if every inmate at Levin was classed according to some kind of syndrome - Downs, microcephalic, etc. She told me that the vast majority were classed as 'feeble minded', and it was pretty clear that even back then she found it a pretty awful label to put on a fellow human.

    Of course you can "oppose the policy and language", and I applaud your doing so. To some extent it appears to be the work you've chosen, which wasn't the case for my 18-year-old manpowered-into-the-job mother, who somehow managed to deal with such things as the little boy at Templeton with a tapeworm hanging out of his bum.

    Levin was very much an initiative of then-health Minister Mabel Howard to deliver people from that kind of squalor. Having been involved in raising someone with a supposed intellectual disability I have some awareness of the social issues. I also have some experience of the history of such things. It's simply wrong, and a touch self-serving, to characterise the whole 'psychopaedic' era as an exercise in cold-hearted self-interest from top to bottom.

    The dehumanised bureaucratic attitude has always been there, just as it sadly is today. We also have a proud humanitarian tradition that we ignore at our cost. If we stopped congratulating ourselves we might notice that we regularly jail and criminalise people with real disabilities. Perhaps we don't recognise them because by the time the system has dealt to them they don't strike us as particularly nice.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3326 posts Report Reply

  • Kate Hannah, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    yes! I have that somewhere in my files as a very bizarre addition to the works I've found ... that whole genre of late victorian empire poetry (God Defend New Zealand a fine example) is truly odd. But packed with imagery and connotation to be teased out .....

    Auckland • Since Mar 2010 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Kate Hannah, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    done - thanks Hilary

    Auckland • Since Mar 2010 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Hilary, you're not only being patronising and condescending, you're failing to accord me the courtesy of assuming that I'm posting here in good faith.

    Steady on. I believe you're both being genuine.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    My parents were minor functionaries in a system that they didn't choose to join.

    The things that make inhumane systems survivable often come down to good humans doing what they can.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Sacha,

    The things that make inhumane systems survivable often come down to good humans doing what they can.

    The inhumane system was the wider society that ostracised the disabled. In that context, for around two-and-a-half decades Levin wasn’t some kind of gulag.

    I think it's also fair to claim that genuine progress was made there, although it's hardly likely to be acknowledged any time soon. For example, what was once my family home was turned into accommodation for parents and family of inmates after we moved on.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3326 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Colleagues who were in institutions have told me that they allowed the forming of common cause amongst a large group. The political fragmentation after de-institutionalisation is something I haven't seen discussed much.

    Damn right it's the prevailing social arrangments and stereotyped beliefs about disability that are the culprit. Successive governments have paid lip service at best to changing that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • Kate Hannah, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    and this is one of the issues with history - assigning our current cultural norms and assessing society in the past against them. It is a difficult space to negotiate - and, like Sacha has so articulately stated, humanity can prevail even within an inhumane system. Nomenclature matters - BUT - it matters to us now more than it did in the past. Assumed norms regarding nomenclature change over time.

    As a young grad student, I worked on an oral history of Tokonui Hospital - my assumptions about how former patients and former staff would feel about a place that felt inannately creepy and sad to me (we had a tour of the grounds) were completely wrong. At times, that place was haven, community, safety. I'm sure at other times it was not - but how those who were there remember it is as important as our current interpretations of how treatment there fits or does not fit into acceptable practise.

    And Joe - you should record or write your memories of growing up and, as far as you can provide them, the memories of your parents - this adds to the sum of human wisdom, allowing us to understand the past as it was lived, instead of how we see it now.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2010 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I'm sure Hilary has linked to these in a previous discussion, but I'd recommend the Donald Beasley Institute's set of reports about the impact of the deinstitutionalisation of Kimberley on residents, families and staff.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Sacha:

    The political fragmentation after de-institutionalisation is something I haven’t seen discussed much.

    Not quite sure if I follow you with ‘political’, but a sad experience for me was visiting some of the former Levin inmates in the 80s, after the place had been run down and they’d been moved to a Salvation Army home. As Kate said about Tokanui, the institution had provided them with a community, and they seemed so bereft and abandoned.

    Thanks Kate, appreciate that. My parents are gone now, but in my mother’s last years I discovered a lot that would have escaped me as a child. For example, which of the medical superintendents had been real progressives, who was responsible for what initiatives, and which of those succeeded or failed. It gave a bit of structure to my recollections. Not much of that is reflected in the Donald Beasley accounts, it sometimes feels as if it’s all been sealed and signed off by those who know best.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3326 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to linger,

    Also a sweet victory to trounce a ‘proper’ hockey team.

    Depends what you mean by “proper” I suppose.

    Back when my knees didn't hurt I played basketball a lot. The team we most feared was the association for the deaf team. They were brutal and they had skillz. I'm sure it was just chance that they were all good players AND hard players.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3221 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to steven crawford,

    could lower life expectancy for some

    That would be impossible to show. No way the experiment will be done and no way to control for differences in health care as a result of changing budgets.

    An equally unprovable and untestable statement would be
    raising the age of retirement will increase life quality and duration for those working because of maintained self-worth and social contacts in the workplace.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3221 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    'breeding for a business' which are eugenic dog-whistles

    Any time someone raises this I want them to show actual data.

    Not anecdotes, not my sister's workmate has 3 cousins who ...

    But actual data, real numbers of mothers who have say more than 3 children and are on the DPB and have never worked. And with that real numbers on the actual costs.

    It seems to me that if those numbers were high then we'd actually get them shown to us, instead we get emotive phrases and anecdotes which suggests the numbers are effectively meaningless in our social welfare structure.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3221 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Sacha,

    Those stories are still really important to understanding

    You mean like history as a valuable science :).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3221 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Not quite sure if I follow you with ‘political’

    Disabled people working together for change. Mainly who I've been interacting with.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    emotive phrases and anecdotes

    Look over there while I pick your pocket..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    history as valuable. science is too

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    ...you had me at tax cut.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to merc,

    you had me

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16277 posts Report Reply

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